Thoughts on the Pete Heck/Michael Kimpan Debate

Recently, Michael Kimpan, executive director of the Marin Foundation, was a guest on Pete Heck’s radio show discussing his views on the same sex relationships/actions.  The Marin Foundation’s stance is one of “intentional and strategic neutrality on this subject” siting Romans 3:23, James 2:10, and Matthew 7 to show that: we’ve all sinned, having sinned, we’ve broken God’s entire law, and that, as sinners, we must attend to our own sin before pointing the finger at others.  Pete, on the other hand, believes that refusing to point out the sins of those around us “leads people away from the grace of Christ.”  As someone who finds biblical arguments both for and against same-sex relationships to be less than completely convincing, I often find myself torn between the two sides in these debates.  I understand Pete’s desire to call a spade a spade and to help people turn from their sin, but I also see the value in Michael’s instinct to love first to build relationships with our neighbors.  I appreciate the Marin Foundation’s refusal to proclaim people’s sins from the rooftops and to point an accusatory finger in the face of every gay person they meet, I just hope that, when asked one-on-one by an LGBT person about the Bible’s stance on same sex relationships, that they are willing to have a thorough and honest conversation about what it says and not ignore the fact that scripture does seem to have something to say on this matter.

In the second half of the discussion, Kimpan brings up the story of the woman caught in adultery to show that Jesus refused to condemn the woman when Pharisees insisted the law stated she should be stoned.  Heck, on the other hand, chooses to focus on the end of the story when Jesus tells her to go and leave her life of sin.  It’s interesting because I think these are both important parts of the story.  First, Jesus protects the woman; He sees her and loves her as a beloved child of God and chases away those who condemn her and then refuses to condemn her Himself even though, as the sinless Son of God, He had every right to.  The thing is, Jesus didn’t need to call her out on her sin, she knew what it was.  It was common knowledge that adultery was a serious offense.  The people dragging her through the streets made sure she knew what she had done.  However, it was only after they were alone that Jesus privately tells her to go and leave her life of sin.  So, if we are viewing LGBT people as the woman in the story, do we want to be the accusers publicly dragging the sinners through the streets parading their shame in front of everyone or do we want to be the ones to love and protect first, and then, when we’re alone, encourage our brothers and sisters to sin no more.

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